back to article Nominet director quits over boardroom rift

One of Nominet's four non-executive directors has resigned amid accusation and counter accusation of wrongdoing at the not-for-profit company that runs the .uk registry. Angus Hanton, a self-described domainer*, was elected to the board in May 2007. In his resignation letter to fellow directors on Wednesday he said he was …


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  1. DR


    Shouldn't the definition read self serving greedy twat?

    those who take something that is essentially virtual, at a very low profit and then go on to try to inflate it in order to sell at a later date should be shot IMO.

    yes that is a rant of someone who's previously wanted a domain name for a genuine site and rather than going to a registrar and paying £7 for 2 years registration you get to a page that suggests that the domain is bought, but not being used for anything significant other than serving adverts, but t can be yours for the hansom price of a few hundred, (if not thousand) quid...

    Why on earth someone who tries to abuse the ease of the domain registration/transfer system to try to make money from the genuine master of the web who should be setting up pages that are good/informative, (or even just plain shit, but still have content) could ever be elected to the board of people who control the very system that they abuse eludes me, and always will elude me.

  2. dreadful scathe


    i didnt know that was what a "domainer" was, but going by that definition all domainers should be stung up *

    * like "strung up" but in a room full of angry wasps

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Good riddance to bad rubbish

    People whose motive is profit have no proper place on the board of what is (theoretically) supposed to be a non-profit organisation.

    That he was eligible to be on the board in the first place is evidence that nominet is NOT a genuine non-profit organisation.

  4. h4rm0ny

    Peter Mandelson

    I see no reason to connect the two issues in this article, but Nominet has come up on my radar twice in the last couple of weeks. Once with this - questioning and accusations concerning how it is run - and once last week when Peter Mandelson (the endlessly sacked and re-employed New Labour spinner) wrote to Nominet asking them to justify their independence from the government ( And if that second one doesn't sound threatening, then I don't know what does.

    When muck starts flying around, I do tend to wonder what's at stake and who benefits.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fed up with Nominet

    This is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Nominet have serious issues to address in-house, not related to any of the Non-executive Directors.

    They appear to want to Govern the whole of the UK Internet - let's face it, they're punching above their weight - they only control odd bits that go before the .uk bit of domain names, that's all.

    Reality check needed. Are Nominet a Membership Organisation or a Company?

    How can a 'not-for-profit' organisation make so much money???

  6. alain williams Silver badge

    Whitehall would wreck nominet

    A Whitehall takeover would be the worst thing that could happen to it.

    The resignation of Angus Hanton sounds like a good thing, we don't want a domainer on the board. Jim Davies should go as well. We want people who who will champion the interests of the typical domain name owner - by and large honest people who don't want to scam others by gaming domain names.

  7. N. O. Minet

    Those who complain about domainers

    What a bunch of whining hypocrites!

    Let me ask you self sanctimonious 'Great and Good' one simple question:

    If you could buy a box of thimbles for a Penny and sell it for a Pound, would you do it?

    Of course you would - that's what makes 'business' work.

    Just because you're too thick, or slow off the mark to register a domain, and someone else buys it doesn't mean they have done anything wrong. Get over it.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why so hostile?

    I'm not a domainer myself, but why so hostile towards them? It's first come, first served, you snooze you loose, that's life and that's business.

    As for someone complaining about taking something at a low cost and selling it for a larger inflated costs - that's business, especially in some industries like fashion and sport, where the goods cost pounds, if not pennies to make and are sold for £100s if not £1000s.

    There are games afoot here, and I'm not sure they are all the "domainers" fault. Nominet needs to get its house in order, and I think that means a clean sweep of the board and executive right now - Else the govt. are going to do it for them, and that will be a disaster.

  9. Eddie Edwards


    Of course they're doing something wrong.

    Not every action a capitalist makes is legitimate or right.

    We have laws to prevent many of their excesses.

    We just need a law to prevent this one.

  10. Ritz

    there is a BIG difference between domainer and cybersquatter..

    Who better than a domainer would understand best the Internet Name industry?

    There should be domainers (not cybersquatters) on the board.

    This industry (YES! it is an industry), is still in its infancy and continues to grow at a phenomenal speed.

    I need to make a point clear. A cybersquatter is someone who registers TRADEMARK names in order to profit from them, but this is VERY different from a domainer who registers GENERIC names with a view to sell them or develop them at a later stage. Tell me who wouldn't register if that was available today? or who deserves to own ?

    of course, first come first serve. Savyy people have been building GENERIC portfolios over time and they are certainly NOT Cybersquatters.

    as for you mister DR (sour grapes) , if you don't find the domain name you want available. Tough for you! You should have got that Bright idea about your website earlier.

    you still have the choice of another TLD or just be more creative. Some people are buying domains now with a view of building later. Parking revenues have been falling and continues to decrease , this is forcing a lot of domainers to develop their names, which is a good thing.

    Mister Sourgrapes,.What if the name you registered was available, you get it and build a ridiculous website on it?BIg Flop!

    Then a few years later, another person comes in with a MUCH better idea but needs that name you have? would you let him have it for free?

    remember, domain names are virtual real estate. If you have a Great website but a rubbish name, that's equivalent to building a superb shopping centre on the top of the himalayas and nobody's going to visit.

    Now you can't say it is good that Angus Hanton resigned BECAUSE he is a Domainer. Being a domainer

    is not the issue here. He resigned on reasons of principles if i understood well.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reading between the lines

    "Hanton alleges a lack of openness, over-reliance on lawyers and specific failures concerning staff discipline, although he declined to provide details"

    Can you say *gagged*? No wonder nobody outside Nominet sees anything wrong...

  12. Jon Green
    Thumb Down


    I think the accepted term is "cybersqatter".

    Why make it sound like a harmless hobby, when it's essentially holding people and firms to ransom?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    what I fucking object to is some cunt of a "domainer" buying up the domain name I've held for 5 years as soon as it becomes available while I'm laid up in hospital, sticking it on a parking page then offering to sell it back to me for fifty quid less than the £750+vat nomiconartistnet charge for arbitration. You may call him savvy I'd call him an arse-wipe except that they're useful

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    reply to title 'boll**c*s

    If you were savvy you'd register that so highly prized domain of yours (that you lost)

    for 10 years..

    if you stop payment to any service you have subscribed to.. would you expect to still receive the service for free?

    in what world are you living mate?

    being laid up in hospital is not an excuse. Good to know you are out !

  15. N. O. Minet

    Another reply to the title: Bollocks

    You're talking about a 'drop catcher', not a 'domainer' or a 'cybersquatter'.

    Nominet do not just delete domains without first trying to ensure you really want to let it go.

    You must have either been in hospital a very long time, or registered your domain with a clueless registrar who obviously wouldn't/couldn't act in your interests.

    If the former, then look at it this way, if you had a car on HP and didn't pay, they'd come and repo it. If you have a domain and don't pay, you lose it.

    If the latter, tough shit on you - pay a decent registrar and ensure they set 'auto-bill' so the domain is automatically renewed. I expect you paid the lowest amount possible, and got a commensurate service.

  16. Ritz

    reply to Jon Green

    "Jon Green

    I think the accepted term is "cybersqatter".

    Why make it sound like a harmless hobby, when it's essentially holding people and firms to ransom? "

    Jon Green,

    do your homework before judging. Some people make a living as Domainers. It is not just a Hobby.

    Cybersquatting is when one registers TRADEMARK domain names and try to profit from them illegally. Of course the rightful owner can claim those names through court.

    but there's NOTHING wrong in buying GENERIC domains with a view of selling with a profit or keeping for later development. This is what DOMAINERS do.

    would you call the company who own the following GENERIC domains 'cybersquatter' ???

    enlightened you? I hope...

  17. Anonymous Coward

    @N. O. Minet

    >"If you could buy a box of thimbles for a Penny and sell it for a Pound, would you do it?

    Of course you would - that's what makes 'business' work."

    What part of "non-profit organisation" don't you get? You call others hypocrites, but you appear to have mistaken your own personal self-interest for "the greater good", you narcissistic twunt.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Shades of gray...

    While Domaining (what domainers do?) is very annoying, the last time I came across Nominet was when they wrote one of those 'renewal' letters suggesting that I could 'renew' my 2.99/year 1&1 business domain with them for only 85.00ish..

    If you weren't aware of these dirty tricks you'd have to read it very carefully to spot that they were trying to take it over and vastly overcharge you.

    I bet lots of non-tech savvy businesses just 'renew' with them. That's where the money comes from. There are no 'good guys' in this one...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK domains are good value, so some take advantage

    Non-profit means a company doesn't distribute profits to member/shareholders, one of the reasons for the Nominet Foundation. A registrar pays £5 +VAT for a 2 year reg, if you get it cheaper it's subsidised by the other services supplied by that registrar. or lack of support or exit charges or being spammed all the time to buy more stuff. Longer regs are not yet available but under discussion.

    The £85 charge is as a last resort for registrants who do not want to use their registrar, Nominet do not want you to go direct so they charge a lot to make you use a registrar where possible. You can contact another and get them to transfer the TAG. Look on the members list and choose a small one who cares for their customers.

    Where domaining is concerned it's not a level playing field for the ordinary user, a domainer or a dropcatcher (most are both as nearly all good names are registered so you have to wait for one to expire and drop catch it) has the resources and time to be able to register a name as it becomes available, they continualy try to register a name thousands of times on the day it 'drops', all an ordinary user can try and do it once and only if it is showing as available (by which time a dopcatcher has got it while you'er filling out the form), it is not in the interests of the wider community.

    Capitalism and making as much profit as possible... look where that's got us recently.

    Domainers only understand a small bit of the market and where it might make them money. Think how much better the web would be without all the fake search portals and link farms. A typical search on a real search engine is littered with all the portals giving no information but a click through.

    Nominet and the UK registrars are doing a pretty good job and a UK name is cheaper that most other T/SLDS.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i don't care...

    as long as it doesn't end up closer/in whitehall

    It's about time an Anonymous Coward told us what's really going on here.

  21. N. O. Minet

    In response to: @N. O. Minet

    Just because you're too thick to understand the difference between the 'Registry', in this case 'Nominet' who are a 'not for profit' organisation - and a 'Registrar', in this case a Domainer who runs a business and would probably see 'profit' as a logical part of 'being in business' doesn't actually make me the 'twunt'. Indeed, your own words rather indicate a level of understanding somewhat lower than the average pimple on my arse.

  22. Justin Clements

    ah the end of Nominet is in sight....

    Bring back the Naming Committee!

  23. DR

    @the ritz

    "There should be domainers (not cybersquatters) on the board."

    you say tomato and I say tomato...

    doesn't work as well in text.

    there is no difference in my mind behind registering a name such as and waiting for the site to move into russian IT news where you can then hold the name for ransom -as it's a brand name and you have ideas that the brand may move there. or registering waiting for *any* IT journalist to come along who wants that site...

    it's still squatting on a name hoping to make money from someone else who's got something more worthwhile to put there than the adverts that you're currently serving with a parking service.

    "Tell me who wouldn't register if that was available today? or who deserves to own ?" is a good example of someone who has bought a website and developed a business search engine, has news and reviews on cars.

    on the other hand has adverts and links to adverts, surely a better use for a site name such as that would be an educational resource? user forum? in fact anything actually related to electronics would be better than a large interactive advert for other sites?

    the person who "should" "own" a domain name is the person who has the best use for that domain name. -not someone who wants to serve adverts so that they can make a little money whilst waiting to make a lot of money from someone else who actually wants to develop a site/usable portal

    "if you don't find the domain name you want available. Tough for you! You should have got that Bright idea about your website earlier."

    Yes, that's all very well, but as a usual and normal human my interests, specifically those that I could talk authoritatively about have developed over time. also it will be true to say that there are many people out there who are only just in a position to buy a domain name, who may find that their domain name has already gone to an add farmer.

    (as it happens I did just settle on a different TLD, but why should *anyone* *have* to do this so that people can make money from people trying to find a good resource and instead finding advert portals?)

    "Mister Sourgrapes,.What if the name you registered was available, you get it and build a ridiculous website on it?BIg Flop!

    Then a few years later, another person comes in with a MUCH better idea but needs that name you have? would you let him have it for free?"

    I can tell you exactly what happens...

    I've done it before, I've bought a site.

    built a crap site, it flopped so I let it go...

    this is what happened, the person building the crap site, cuts their losses, says goodbye to their site and the money that they've invested in it, and return the domain name to the pool of available names by not renewing the address. -that's exactly what I've done before and would do again if I had an idea for a site that just never worked out.

    basically anyone squatting/camping/'domaining' on a name (generic/brand/otherwise) are doing a disservice to the users of the internet as a whole, and it's just plain wrong that people who seek to abuse the domain name registration/transfer process to make money should be sitting on the board of people who have authority to control that.

  24. Ritz

    @ DR


    I appreciate the time you have put in your reply.

    If you scroll a few centimeters up, you will see some domains I pointed Mr Jon Green to.

    Do you think then that this highly reputable company is practising cybersquatting?

    (If you think so, why not sue them!)

    Let me ask you this way...

    Would you not like to own a piece of land in LA, central London, Tokyo or New York?

    If you would like to own one, would you not prefer to buy it NOW that the market has crashed and the prices are at their lowest?

    I am expecting you to answer NO to all these questions above. Why? Because answering Yes would make you a hypocrite or ...a squatter (in YOUR understanding!!).

    With all due respect, domaining is virtual real estate. A domainer is a virtual property developer.

    And according to you, a property developer is a squatter, if I follow your logic.

    I presume you are smart enough to understand the metaphor/comparison.

    Regarding the example you used (, if the Register holds an international trademark, then the person who registers trademark names is in the wrong. (I am repeating myself here). I cannot stress enough that this is the BIG difference between a domainer and a cybersquatter. A cybersquatter is doing an illegal act, a Domainer is not.

    You also seem to forget that the internet is still very young! You cannot expect every domain to be giving you great websites like or .

    The time for to bear a stunning website will come too.

    (Does every piece of land on earth have a state-of-the-art multi-storey building on it??) Patience, my dear, is a virtue!

    But now, Would you rather have resolving to an Error 404 "Page not found" or rather to a page with some links that still have some relation to electronics?

    On a side note, I just thought I'd let you know, you will soon see more websites coming online soon. Parking is on the decline, and PPC revenues have taken a downward slope, which (as I mentioned in another comment above) is a good thing, since this will force (lazy?) domainers to develop.

    You seem to hold a grudge with pages that serve adverts. Advertising is wrong according to you? How do you think Google or Yahoo! generates the main core of their profits?

    "the person who 'should own' a domain name is the person who has the best use for that domain name."

    What is best use according to you?

    Isn't one man's Morris Minor another man's Lamborghini? Or... what would be 'best use' for ? Ralph Lauren? Volkswagen? The sport played on horseback ? Can you tell me which one? I can't.

    I'm sorry to hear that 'your interests' that you feel you can talk authoritatively about came to you a bit late. Late enough for you to miss the chance of registering the perfect domain name. But you see, that's precisely (maybe!) what some people tried to avoid when they have registered domains a long time ago.

    Congratulations on being able to settle on a different TLD. Don't worry, if your content is exteremely good, you will get the visitors you are after! Remember, Google didn't mean anything 10 years ago. is not even english!

    So you have built a site on a domain, but let it go because the site flopped. Great, it's Your choice! But you can't impose that on other more perseverant people.

    Do you know how many versions went through from 1996 to how it looks today in 2008? Have a look for yourself with the WayBackMachine at . At one point it was even simply serving ads.

    I am sad to see how sour you are towards people who have a vision.

    Some people see small things, some people see big.

    Some see the glass half empty, others half full.

    That's how the world goes I'm afraid.

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